Size: 3,560 acres
Location: Colfax County
Eco-Region: Southern Rocky Mountains
Conservation Values: Agriculture, Scenic Open Space, Wildlife Habitat
Type of Project: Donated Conservation Easement
Date Completed: April, 2016
This 3,560-acre conserved property is part of a larger 5,710 acre ranch located approximately 15 miles east of Raton, near the Colorado border. A portion of the property is native grassland atop Johnson Mesa, and a larger portion lies below Johnson Mesa, in Taylor Canyon. Canyon vegetation is characterized by Gambel oak, piñon-juniper, ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir. Cottonwoods and willows are present along the perennial Una de Gato Creek, which is fed by several springs located on the property. Elk, pronghorn, coyote, bear, deer, and mountain lion are present in Taylor Canyon. Mesa Ranch is being managed for cattle grazing and the landowner is committed to sustainable agricultural practices to protect the health of the rangeland into the future.
The easements were completed in two phases, the first one donated in 2013, and the second phase purchased through the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). This expansive and laborious effort on the part of landowner has ensured such a beautiful ranch will remain in traditional agriculture while protecting key conservation values on Johnson Mesa and in Taylor Canyon.